“Nothing about us without us,” is an important rallying cry in the disability community. It means that no policy, product or service should be developed without the full and direct participation of members of the group that will be impacted. My latest article for Ida Institute discusses why audiologists should become more involved in the hearing loss community outside of the clinic. The answer: practicing person-centered care requires it. See an excerpt below.
To read the full article click here.
How to Engage with the Hearing Loss Community
Interacting with the hearing loss community in real world settings will help audiologists better understand their patient’s concerns and see firsthand the struggles they face as they navigate the world. They will see which communication solutions work well in the real world, and which do not. Audiologists will also learn which issues are most important to us. This knowledge can then be incorporated into their individual patient care recommendations.
There are many ways audiologists can form these important links with the hearing loss community.
Attend hearing loss support group meetings.
This is probably the easiest place to start. Many hearing loss support groups exist throughout the world, including actives ones in the United States (Hearing Loss Association of America), Canada (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association) and the U.K. (Hearing Link). The International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH) lists local resources for much of the rest of the world on its website.
Many groups hold monthly chapter meetings for people with hearing loss, both in-person and online. Volunteer to speak at one or simply attend and soak up the ambience. Attendees are excited when an audiologist attends so introduce yourself around. You may pick up a few new clients over time, but at a minimum, you will become more familiar with the needs of the community. Boosting your empathy and understanding will improve your ability to practice person-centered care.
Join a hearing loss Facebook group.
There are many Facebook groups for people with hearing loss, each with its own style. Read the posts to see what concerns people share as well as the responses that are provided. Weigh in if you feel comfortable, or simply watch and learn from the sidelines. Choose groups wisely, as some are better managed than others. Visit a few to see if the topics vary by geography and/or degree of hearing loss.
For more ideas, continue reading on Ida Institute.